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How to Get an Entry Level Financial Planning Job

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A woman looking for an entry level financial planning job.

Financial planning can open the door to a wide range of jobs, including financial advisor, investment analyst, wealth manager, retirement planner and tax advisor, among others. If you’re just starting out, here a round up of entry level financial planning jobs.

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Types of Entry Level Financial Planning Jobs

Here are 13 common jobs that could help you jumpstart a career in the finance industry:

Accountant

Accountants are responsible for preparing and examining financial records of businesses, government entities, non-profit organizations and individuals. They ensure accuracy and compliance with laws and may also provide input for budgeting and financial decision-making.

Accountants can work for accounting firms, themselves, or an employer seeking an in-house accountant. A certified public accountant (CPA) accreditation can help you outcompete other workers in the industry and nab more lucrative positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants averaged $78,000 in 2022.

Personal Financial Advisor

Personal financial advisors work with individuals to help them make informed financial decisions. They assess clients’ financial goals, provide investment advice and develop personalized financial plans.

To succeed as a financial advisor, you’ll need: 

You can get started as a financial advisor by working for a financial advising company or set up your own business. The various certifications available will help build your skills and increase your earnings. The median wage for personal financial advisors in 2022 was roughly $95,000 a year.

Tax Associate

Tax associates assist in the preparation and filing of tax returns for individuals or businesses. They stay current with tax laws, ensure compliance and help clients optimize their tax situations. The median salary was roughly $78,000 in 2022.

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts evaluate market trends and conditions to provide insights for investing. They may work on budgeting, forecasting, and evaluating investment opportunities. In this position, you’ll work for a bank, securities firm, or insurance company to help clients choose wise investments.

Financial Analysts earned a median salary just over $96,000 in 2022. Additionally, they may receive a portion of the returns on assets managed, ramping up their pay over time.

Credit Analyst

Credit analysts evaluate the creditworthiness of individuals or businesses applying for loans. They assess financial statements, credit reports, and other relevant information to help banks, asset management companies, and equity firms make lending decisions.

As a result, you’ll excel as a credit analyst if you’re naturally inquisitive and like research. This position doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree, but if you forego college, you’ll likely need a certification to qualify for the job. The median salary was just under $79,000 in 2022.

Data Analyst

Data analysts collect, process, and analyze data to provide insights that support decision-making. For example, you might provide reports to companies on recent sales, consumer purchasing habits, or social media engagement.

Applicants for data analyst positions typically have bachelor’s degrees, and seasoned analysts often earn advanced degrees to specialize in a certain area. The median annual salary for finance and insurance analysts was over $81,000 in 2022.

Actuary

Actuaries use statistical models to assess and manage financial risks for insurance companies, pension funds, and investment portfolios. They analyze data to calculate probabilities and determine the financial impact of uncertain events. These skills are relevant to projecting insurance claims and asset returns.

Becoming an actuary means getting a bachelor’s degree and passing numerous tests from the Society of Actuaries. The median annual salary for actuaries in 2022 was just under $114,000.

Budget Analyst

Budget analysts help organizations plan their finances by preparing budget reports, monitoring spending, and making recommendations for cost-saving measures. They ensure that expenditures align with organizational goals and work in both the private and public sectors.

So, if you like working with a team and tackling expense spreadsheets, this position is a fit. The median annual salary in 2022 was just over $82,000.

Economist

Economists study and analyze economic data and trends to provide insights into the performance of markets, industries, and economies. They may work for government agencies, businesses, research institutions and schools.

Economists usually have master’s degrees, although some government positions only require bachelor’s degrees. Earning a Ph.D. allows you to become an economics professor. The median salary for entry-level economists is a median salary of almost $114,000 in 2022.

Insurance Claims Adjuster

Insurance claims adjusters assess insurance claims to determine the extent of coverage and facilitate settlement. They investigate claims, gather information, and negotiate settlements with policyholders. Additionally, some positions investigate fraud, protecting clients from criminal activity.

These positions usually don’t require bachelor’s degrees. Instead, you’ll need training and licensure specific to being a claims adjuster. The median annual salary for 2022 was just over $72,000.

Insurance Underwriter

Insurance underwriters evaluate insurance applications to determine the level of risk and set appropriate premiums. They analyze data, financial statements and other information to make underwriting decisions. The goal is to determine how risky each potential customer is and recommend approval or denial based on a comprehensive analysis.

You can qualify for this position with a bachelor’s degree or deep experience in the field. The median salary in 2022 was roughly $76,000 a year.

Compensation and Benefits Specialist

Compensation and benefits specialists design and administer employee compensation and benefits programs. They analyze market trends, ensure compliance, and help develop competitive compensation packages. Doing so requires researching the salary levels of different jobs, writing job descriptions, and overseeing performance reviews. The median annual salary in 2022 was just under $68,000 annually.

Loan Officer

Loan officers work for banks, credit unions, and other lenders to help individuals and businesses qualify for loans. They evaluate loan applications, assess creditworthiness, and guide clients through the loan application process. As a result, a combination of financial knowledge and communication skills is necessary.

Loan officers don’t need a bachelor’s degree to get started, but employers usually require licensure obtainable from the employer or a training program. The median annual salary in 2022 was almost $66,000.

Tips to Finding an Entry Level Financial Planning Job

A man reviewing entry level financial planning job descriptions.

If you’re ready to land an entry-level financial planning job, use these strategies to make yourself as qualified as possible and get a foot in the door of where you want to work.

Optimize Your Resume

A well-written resume is crucial for catching the attention of employers. Tailor your resume to highlight relevant skills, education, and experiences. Emphasize any coursework, internships, or extracurricular activities related to finance. Use action verbs to describe your achievements, quantify results where possible, and keep the format clean and easily readable.

Build Relationships With Experienced Professionals

Networking is a powerful tool in any industry, and finance is no exception. Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and connect with professionals on platforms like LinkedIn. Building relationships with experienced individuals can provide insights into the industry, job opportunities, and potential mentors.

Research Industry Trends

Stay informed about current trends and developments in the financial industry. Demonstrating this kind of knowledge during interviews and in cover letters shows employers that you are proactive and engaged. To that end, keep up on financial journals, economic forecasts, and job-specific news (such as changes in accounting regulations).

Use Your College’s Career Center

College career centers offer valuable resources for job seekers. Take advantage of resume reviews, mock interviews, and career counseling services. Additionally, career centers often have connections with employers and can help you explore potential opportunities. This resource is most accessible while you’re a student. However, if you’ve graduated, your alma mater may also help alums, so it’s worth checking.

Get an Internship

Internships provide practical experience and exposure to the industry. Many employers prefer candidates with relevant internship experience. Internships enhance your resume, help you build a network of contacts in the field, and can introduce you to a mentor who can advise you on your career.

Practice Your Interviewing Skills

Strong interviewing skills are essential for landing a job. Practice common interview questions, research the company, and develop concise responses that demonstrate competence. Consider conducting mock interviews with career advisors, mentors, or peers to prepare for the real deal.

Bottom Line

A woman applying for an entry level financial planning job.

When applying for entry-level jobs in financial planning, it’s important to show that you have good analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as a clear understanding of the financial concepts and principles that you will need to use. Highlighting relevant coursework, internships, or certifications can make your application stand out. Additionally, demonstrating excellent communication and interpersonal skills, along with a passion for helping clients achieve their financial goals, can greatly enhance your chances of securing a position in the field.

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